Horseback Riding Gear For Beginners

They say the cheapest part of buying a horse is the horse- and they’re right! Even if you have a generous budget for your new gear, it’s important to find quality equipment for the best price. Although tack and apparel collections grow with time, we’ve listed all your basics to get you started. Horseback riding can quickly turn into an expensive hobby! Luckily, we’ve narrowed down the necessities for both horse and rider to help you with a no-fuss shopping experience. Here are our top picks for horse riding gear for beginners:

Halter and Leads  – For the Horse

This should be your first purchase. Most horses will be sold with a halter and lead, and some states even make this a legal requirement. However, most owners will want to buy a personalized or decorative halter of their choosing for their horse. All basic horse care requires a halter and lead rope- including the movement of the horse, trailering/unloading, tying for the farrier or vet, or prepping for work.

Although there are many variations of halters, the most common halters are rope halters and buckle halters. Rope halters, especially narrower strands or knot-nosed editions, provide more adjustment through the crown and throatlatch, and better control. The lack of hardware also makes these more durable. Some owners prefer standard buckles, with or without snap throat latches.

Weaver SilverTip Rope Halter

Available in a variety of color options, the SilverTip #95 halter provides stability and control. These are hand-tied, hold their shape even in the elements, and uses 5/16″ polypropylene diamond braided rope. Weaver also makes similar styles with four-knot nose pieces, and both options come with optional leads.

Pros:

  • No hardware
  • Durable
  • Multiple colors and fit options

Cons:

  • Tying may take additional time on young horses
  • Difficult for some children

TEKE Adjustable Solid Halter

The TEKE halter features sturdy brass-coated buckle and hardware, 2 and 3 ply polypropylene webbing, and foam cushioning over the crown and nose piece. These halters maintain color very well and are available in weaning through full sizes. The top pad is also removable for use on other equipment.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Color and size selection

Cons:

  • Buckles are not solid brass or stainless steel
  • Rubber foam may leave sweat marks

Horse Riding Gear for Beginners -

Other Top Considerations

The HYBRIDHalter provides the safety of a traditional halter with stability and control of a rope halter.

Perri’s leather halters are Amish made in the US and feature fine double-stitched leather. We love the color selection and size availability in these color padded ultra-comfort halters.

Grooming Kit – For the Horse

Although you will likely gather a grooming kit over several years featuring your favorite items, it’s ideal to find a starter kit to meet all your needs. These are our top two picks for grooming sets to get you started and cover all the bases:

Oster 7 Piece Kit

This Oster set features 7 essentials including a dandy and soft finishing brush, curry comb, mane and tail brush, and hoof pick. The product quality difference in Oster tools is second to none. It saves money to purchase these items as a kit and also comes with a storage bag.

Pros:

  • Excellent quality
  • Durable
  • Ergonomic handles

Cons:

  • More expensive than similar sets

Tough 1 Great Grip Grooming Package

Tough 1 seems to find the top of every list as a high-quality yet economical option for a wide range of products. This 8-piece grooming set features 7 tools with ergonomically designed handles, keeping your hands cramp-free while grooming. It’s available in several color options to match you and your horse’s style! It also comes in a nylon carry tote, perfect for storage or taking in the trailer. The kit includes a stiff dandy, finishing brush, hoof pick, curry comb, maned and tail brush, comb, and a sweat scraper.

Pros:

  • Great quality
  • Economical
  • Multiple color choices

Cons:

  • Not as durable as the above set

Horse Riding Gear for Beginners - for the horse

Saddle Pads – For the Horse

When getting started, many riders are unsure about saddle fit or have a horse with a body likely to change as it develops and changes in conditioning. Most English pads are simply flat and moisture-wicking fabrics to provide a barrier between a horse’s back and the saddle. Luckily, half pads are compatible with all standard pads and can help provide shock absorption, adjust the saddle fit, or compensate for any bridging if shimmable. Western saddles are much bulkier and heavier in nature, so a thick and high-quality pad is essential for the horse’s comfort.

T3 Shim CC Half Pad with Pro-Impact Insert

Toklat T3 pads are simply unbeatable. Toklat’s T3 shimmable half pad with the Pro-Impact inserts is made in the USA and features three full-length pockets to create a perfect fit. It is contoured for the wither spine and comes with 12 shims. The pockets Velcro to keep everything in place and the pad material is an ETC quilted fabric with nonslip on the bottom.

Pros:

  • High quality
  • Excellent fit with adjustment
  • Compatible with all English saddles

Cons:

  • Expensive

Classic Equine CONTOURPEDIC Saddle Pad

Classic Equine is a go-to for quality western saddle pads, suitable for a wide variety of disciplines or an all-purpose pad. the COUNTOURPEDIC uses wool felt and foam for almost a full 1″ of close contact support. The bottom of this pad is antifungal and antibacterial and allows the back to stay cool when in-use. There is a wither cut out and precise contour to flow with a horse’s natural spine curvature. The split design allows the pad to move with your horse, rather than against it and has a cut-out cinch area for a closer fit.

Pros:

  • Excellent quality
  • Breathable
  • Great support

Cons:

  • Pricier for a foam/felt pad

If you want to check more saddles: The Parts Of A Saddle

Headstall or Bridle – For the Horse

Collegiate Comfort Crown Fancy Stitched Raised Bridle

We love Collegiate because they deliver high-quality products at a reasonable price. Their bridles are priced to suit a beginner but seen in Class A and nationally ranked show circuits around the world. This basic bridle is a great staple, featuring fancy stitching, an ergonomic headpiece, padding, and the reins are included! It is available in black or brown depending on your saddle color.

Pros:

  • Cob-warmblood sizing
  • Affordable
  • Name-brand and quality

Cons:

  • N/A

Horse Riding Gear for Beginners - for the horse

Cowperson Tack Single Ear Antique Buckle Headstall

Cowperson makes quality and butter-soft leatherware for cowboys, trail riders, and any western tack enthusiast. This is a single-ear hot oiled headstall with beautiful hand-made antique buckles, and tie-string ends. The entire Cowperson lineup is full of stunning functional pieces rated for demanding work or pleasure.

Pros:

  • Family-owned
  • Exceptional quality
  • Moderately priced (without custom buckles)

Cons:

  • N/A

Bit – For the Horse

Bits are a very personal choice, and horses are frequently sold with a specific bit of recommendation. However, we found two reputable and quality brands at different price points to cover your curb and snaffle bit needs:

Myler Level 2 MBT Shank Sweet Iron Low Port

Myler bits have a beautiful balance, weight, and structure. There is a perfect Myler for every horse- and if you can’t find the perfect edition from their stock collection, they make customs! This Myler Level 2 sweet iron bit features a 5.5″ shank with a lower port. It has a copper inlay and sweet iron polish to keep your horse salivating.

Pros:

  • Will last a lifetime
  • Holds value

Cons:

  • Expensive

Korsteel Loose Ring Snaffle

This is a basic loose-ring (or O-ring) snaffle made of hand-polished stainless steel. Suitable for a variety of horses, training, and competition styles, Korsteel always delivers quality and balance.

Pros:

  • Quality
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Only snaffles/English bits

Learn more about Types Of Western Bits

Saddle – For the Horse

To see our top picks in saddles, click here.

Horse Riding Gear for Beginners- For the Rider

There is great variation among riding attire, especially when factoring in specific disciplines. Check out our top picks in each category for horseback riding gear for beginners, and check out the links for detailed information! If you aren’t sure about what you need to get started, here’s a great source for what to wear your first ride!

Helmet

TOP PICK: Ovation Deluxe Schooler

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable
  • ASTM/SEI certified
  • Huge color selection
  • Suitable for all disciplines
  • Fall replacement policy

Cons:

  • Not an ideal fit for every round heads
  • Sizing only up to L/XL

Horse Riding Gear for Beginners - for the rider

Troxel Fallon Taylor Edition

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable
  • ASTM/SEI certified
  • Fun western patterns and prints
  • Fall replacement policy

Cons:

  • Not the most breathable helmet
  • Designs not suitable for showing

One K Defender

Pros:

  • Beautiful and sleek design
  • Breathable
  • One of the top-rated helmets in rider comfort
  • Fall replacement policy

Cons:

  • Expensive

Cowboy Boots

Cowboy boots are a riding staple if you aren’t riding an English discipline. These are our top picks in western horseback riding boots.

Tony Lama Goat Boot

Pros:

  • 100% leather with goat shaft and foot
  • Made in the USA
  • Comfortable and quality

Cons:

  • N/A

Horse Riding Gear for Beginners - boots or the rider

Paddock Boots

Our top pick in paddock boots is the Suedwind Ultima paddock, but you can check out all our top contenders here.

Suedwind Ultima Paddock Boot

Pros:

  • Extremely durable with quadruple stitched soles
  • Machine washable
  • Thick comfortable antimicrobial insoles
  • Available in half sizes

Cons:

  • Narrower fit than some paddock boots

Jeans

Although your regular jeans may work the first few rides, we recommend investing in jeans specifically for riding. They will use quality and thick denim able to withstand friction from the saddle, no bedazzling on pockets, and a longer hem length than normal. You can see our top riding jeans here. If you are riding English, you may start in leggings before investing in breeches.

Breeches

Breeches or tights are typically worn in English disciplines. These are our favorite in each category:

Dublin Pro Form Ascent KP Breech

Pros:

  • Technical fabric
  • Lightweight
  • Gel knee patches

Cons:

  • Better suited for curvier frames

Horse Riding Gear for Beginners - breech or the rider

Kerrits IceFil Tight

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Moisture-wicking and cooling
  • As comfortable as pajamas

Cons:

  • Expensive for tights

Gloves

Heritage Performance Glove

Pros:

  • Moderately priced
  • Multi-use
  • Great grip

Cons:

  • For schooling only

Roeckl Grip Gloves

Pros:

  • Excellent quality
  • Technical features and sleek design

Cons:

  • Expensive

Horse Riding Gear for Beginners - gloves or the rider

What are your go-to basics for riding? Be sure to bookmark this article for future shopping, and share with friends!

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